Halloween in the Broads National Park

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Welcome to the Broads National Park mystery tour of all things strange and uncanny that lurk near the waterways. If you’re feeling brave and you don’t mind the dark, here are some Halloween-themed sights to see and events to experience in this season of pumpkin carving and dark stormy nights…

Iceni curses

Norwich Castle © Brian Adamson (Flickr)
Norwich Castle © Brian Adamson (CC BY 2.0)

In the walls of Norwich Castle lurks a simple yet spooky item, hidden away in the Boudicca Gallery –   a lead plate upon which is written a plea to Neptune. The inscriber asks that the god punish a thief for stealing a number of items and offers the incentive of a pair of leggings in exchange for his wish being fulfilled. This strange and fascinating object was found on the bank of the River Tas in 1981 near Caistor St Edmund in Norfolk. Is it still as potent in its vengeance to this day? You decide…

Ghost Walks

In Norwich, at the Adam and Eve pub (Norwich’s oldest pub in fact), a mysterious stranger known only as the man in black appears. He is your guide to the ghosts of Norwich and will lead you through the dark alleyways and twisted streets of this ancient city. Watch your step! The city at night- time has secrets to tell to those who are brave enough to listen, and the man in black knows exactly where one must go to hear them…

The Witch of East Somerton

The ruins of St Mary’s Church are said to be as they are due to a witch being buried there many years ago. A witch with wooden legs. From her legs an oak tree sprouted and as it grew it pushed away the roof, and knocked the glass out of the windows and pushed the walls apart and now in the centre St Mary’s Ruins stands a great oak tree. There are those who say that if you circle the tree three times then the spirit of the old wooden-legged witch will be released. Do you dare to find out?

Walk in the woods at Fairhaven

Visit the enchanted forest where witches rule! Dare you take a walk in the woods at night where witchy malevolence cackles behind every tree? Stay on the path and don’t be lured into the wood as curiosity killed the black cat - and Curiosity is a very cross witch. Food and drinks at The Cackling Cauldron, with spellbinding live music, wicked children’s entertainers, frightful fireworks.

The man who was buried standing up…

Skeleton Norwich Cathedral © Leo Reynolds
The Smiling Skeleton© Leo Reynolds (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

In Norwich Cathedral upon the wall hangs a strange image indeed. It is the bust of a skeleton with a great grin spread across his face. Beneath the grinning skeleton are these haunting words… “As you that do this place walk bye, remember death for you will dy. As you are now even so was I and as I am so shall you be.” It is the memorial of the artist Thomas Gooding who is said to have been buried standing up so that he might ascend to heaven more quickly. He is responsible for the creation of several monuments in Norwich but we can only speculate as to whether his memorial was his own creation, designed by his own hands before he died.

Join The Glorious Glowing Lantern Parade

A celebration of all things shuddery and shivery, there’s tons of spooky stuff for families to get stuck into between Saturday 14 October and Sunday 29 October at Bewilderwood. With all the exciting zipping and climbing that BeWILDerwood is known for; Wobbly Wires, Tricky Tunnels, Boat Rides and Ground Mazes, Treehouses and Slippery Slopes (well, if you’re brave enough!). There's also lantern making, free face-painting, craft making in the Big Hat, a blazing bonfire and a fabulous parade at the end of each day.

Brave the eerie broads

Test your knowledge (and your nerve) at Salhouse Broad's Halloween Horror Hunt, where you must follow the spooky pumpkin trail to get clues and solve the puzzles. Furthermore, the chance to explore Norfolk Wildlife Trust's Ranworth Broad reserve after dark is not to be missed as you go searching for elusive and spooky creatures of the night including owls and bats, using expert knowledge and bat detectors. Bringing a torch is essential so you don't get lost in the night!

Explore spine-chilling Strumpshaw

Barn Owl
Barn owls are renowned for their nocturnal hunting skills

RSPB Strumpshaw Fen is not for the faint of heart around Halloween with two hair-raising events taking place. A Spooktacular Halloween Trail is running all week during half term, providing guaranteed fun for all the family. Follow the trail to discover hidden pumpkins, unearth secrets of spooky wildlife and complete challenges to earn a trick or treat prize. If afterwards you aren't suitably spooked, then the Creatures of the Night event on 28 October, where you can discover some nocturnal species, is sure to sort to sort that out!

So use this Halloween to explore the spookier side of the Broads, whether you’re in the city of Norwich or are brave enough to venture into the ruins of St Mary’s Church, there are all of sorts of secrets to be found by those who know where to look…